First Two Awards To Set Tone?

 Pete Hammond at has discovered what the first two awards will be at the Oscars this Sunday:

I’ve learned 2-time Oscar winner and Academy favorite Tom Hanks will be the first presenter and name winners in both the Art Direction and Cinematography categories right off the bat. Best Picture frontrunner The King’s Speech is up for both, so the world will quickly get an idea whether that Best Picture nominee is able to mount a sweep right in the first few minutes of Sunday’s Oscar show.

   If The King’s Speech takes both awards, then hold on to your butt’s… it’s going to be a long night for the royal drama.

In Theatres for Friday, February 25th

  It’s Oscar weekend!!  That being said, if you are going to the theatre this weekend I would recommend trying to see anything that you might have missed up until now. 

   If you are already up to par on the Oscar nominated films, here is what is slated for release on Friday:

   The Farrelly Brothers brought us films like There’s Something About Mary, Dumb and Dumber, and Me, Myself and Irene.  So if their type of humor is your thing, then you will probably want to check out Hall Pass, starring Owen Wilson, Jason Sudeikis, Christina Applegate, and Jenna Fischer.  The film centers around two married men who are given a week to engage in the single life.  Excited by their new freedom, the twist comes when they realize the deal means their wives get the same luxury.  The early word is that it is pretty funny, so if you want something light before the heavy award weekend, maybe Hall Pass will do the trick.

   See what else is out after the jump…

Costume Designers Guild Winners

For those of us torn between Alice in Wonderland and The King’s Speech for Best Costume Design on our Oscar ballots, this should only muddy the waters a bit further:

The King’s SpeechBlack Swan and Alice in Wonderland took the top feature film honors Tuesday evening at the 13th Costume Designers Guild Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

Jenny Beavan won excellence in period film for The King’s Speech, while Amy Westcott earned her award for excellence in contemporary film for Black Swan and Colleen Atwood for excellence in fantasy film for Alice in Wonderland.

On Video for February 22nd

With such a busy week in front of us, I’m going to be rather brief with this Video posting.  You’ll still get a list of what is out and what I recommend, just in a ‘nutshell.’

   The film trilogy based on Steig Larsson’s Millennium series is out today (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest).  The first film was one of my favorites of the year.  I am yet to see the final installment, but feel the first two are good enough to make this series well worth checking out.  David Fincher (The Social Network) is currently remaking the Swedish films.

   See what else is out after the jump…

Oscar Week: Final Oscar Prediction Update and MPSE Awards

 Happy Oscar week everyone! 

   It’s a big week here at Award Contenders.  I will be extremely busy wrapping up my final Oscar predictions, as well as giving you the last two installments in our first annual Aycee Awards.

   On Thursday evening, at 10 p.m. EST, I will be participating in Jason O’Brien’s annual Oscar Predictions show on BlogTalkRadio.  Please join me and 3 other experts as we unveil who we think will win the Oscars this year.  It is always a fun show to listen to, and I am honored to be invited to participate.  There is a fun chat room included with the presentation, so you can chime in with your opinions and predictions as well.  This is where I will be releasing my final predictions first, which will then appear on the site on Friday.  So be sure to listen!  Go here to check it out.  You can listen as a guest and participate in the chat, but if you want your name to show up then you will have to sign up (free and easy).  Otherwise, just click on the link at that time to listen in!

   Don’t forget to fill out your own free Oscar ballot on our site for a chance to win any of the Best Picture nominated films on DVD or Blu-Ray.  Be sure to include your name and email address at the end of the ballot, or else you won’t be eligible to win.  The voting ends this Friday.

   Check out the winners of the Motion Picture Sound Editors (MPSE) Awards after the jump…

Oscar Presenters List Updated

Constage during the 82nd Annual Academy Awards held at Kodak Theatre on March 7, 2010 in Hollywood, California.

Here is the most up to date list of Oscar presenters for this Sunday’s (omg, omg, omg) Oscar ceremony:

  • Annette Bening
  • Halle Berry
  • Russell Brand
  • Jeff Bridges
  • Sandra Bullock
  • Robert Downey Jr.
  • Tom Hanks
  • Hugh Jackman
  • Scarlett Johansson
  • Nicole Kidman
  • Jude Law
  • Alan Menken, Mandy MooreZachary LeviRandy NewmanGwyneth PaltrowA.R. Rahman (musical performers)
  • Marisa Tomei
  • Florence Welch
  • Oprah Winfrey

   I’m betting on Oprah to hand out the Best Picture award.  Anyone else want to take a guess at who might do what?

Oscar and Foreign Films, and An Argument

  It’s almost Oscar time. Whatever you think, however you feel about the Academy Awards and awards in general, there’s little arguing with the eighty plus years of history and rich tradition of this still most prestigious and popular of movie honors.

   For many years now the most interesting part of the awards for me, and  my favorite category has been the “Best Foreign Language Film” division. I look forward to it each year, both for the agony as well as the ecstasy.

   It’s also the category I’d most like to see abolished. 

   Read the rest of Gary’s essay after the jump…

Streep Going for Number 3 As Thatcher

 As many of you know, Meryl Streep will be playing British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the upcoming film, The Iron Lady.  Could this role earn her the much deserved 3rd Oscar she has been chasing for 27 years? 

   Streep has said of the role:  “I am trying to approach the role with as much zeal, fervour and attention to detail as the real Lady Thatcher possesses – I can only hope my stamina will begin to approach her own.”

   I would bet it does.  There is nothing this actress can’t do.